This Reflection Tip will not be like the others. This entry is about my personal reflective journey and why I began creating Reflection Tips for each of you. 2020 has produced a myriad of feelings…some good and others not so good . Each year I set personal goals for myself, but prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic I would always at some point during the year push them to the side to advance my professional goals. This time last year I participated in a challenge on Twitter. Each person was asked to post one word to describe your focus or goal for 2020. My word was “RISE”. I’ll admit that I tried to work on my personal goals during those first few months of 2020 and failed miserably. I told myself that there wasn’t enough TIME to dedicate to personal goals. I had given up on growing myself for the 10th year in a row.
In April, I stopped by work late in the evening to assist my boss with a task. While I was there, I went into my office and found a basket filled with gifts from Sandra Miles-Pryor. Among the gifts was a coffee cup from that simply said, “Rise and Grind”. I was immediately reminded of the goals I had pushed to the side and made a promise to work on rising and begin finally choosing to grow and learn and choose to better myself. You see, your mindset matters. As a matter of fact, it is the only thing that does when setting and achieving goals. If you stop and reflect on your inability to accomplish a task or goal, you will find that it is that inner voice of doubt which taps you on the shoulder and makes you stop believing in YOU. I could talk all day about mindset, but I won’t in this Reflection Tip. However, if you want to learn more about mindset I will place resources at the end of this Reflection Tip.
As a result of choosing to focus on improving, growing, and being the best ME that I can be….2020 has been filled with lots of new, novel—FIRSTS for me…..
I was interviewed by Fox 13 News in January. I was the project lead for my school’s Memphis 13 Multipurpose Room Revitalization. The transformation was awesome. Jamond Bullock from Alive Paint, donated floor to ceiling replicas of three African American students who integrated my school (Bruce Elementary). It was an awesome first for me!!! Thanks Amicia Ramsey for pushing me. When she asked, I told her no because usually my Principal speaks on behalf of our school. It was cool to hear my voice in the background as the mural was shown. It was also my first voiceover. I have produced several more voiceovers (infomercials) at work as a result of this interview. I appreciated Dr. Moss for believing that I could handle a project of this magnitude. It was my largest and most impactful to thus far.
A couple of weeks before the Stay-At-Home orders were issued…I watched my son participate in a Regional Science competition. He won his first and the school’s only gold medal 🥇. It’s so great to see him come out of his shell. He is going to do so many wonderful things over the years. I’m looking forward to watching his progress.
First, I started believing in my ability to coach adults and branded myself and started offering educational advice to the world. I love learning and coaching and will admit that I struggled to find a balance between coaching and my other administrative duties during my first couple of years. It was mostly due to my being the former Instructional Coach and getting a promotion. I was attempting to establish some boundaries so the new Instructional Coach could get established in her new role. During the beginning of the pandemic, I had my hardest challenge—-my hair and embarked on the natural hair journey. I’ll admit it was difficult finding the right products but now that I have it is one of the best things that I have done. I have never been able to do my own hair and now I can 🏾🏾!! In June, I started the Digital PD 4 You Podcast. It still shocks me when I ask Alexa to play it and she does 🤭. If you a looking for a quick way to improve you practice, the podcast episodes are no longer than 15-minutes. I would love to hear your thoughts regarding topics that you would like to know more about.
*In July, I set a deadline and began writing a book. My husband and I had been planning and discussing writing an educational book for over 10 years. In August, I self-published, Educator Reflection Tips, Volume #1: How often do you reflect on your practice? It was my first book…. I also edited and published my husband’s dissertation a few days after mine. His book is called, The Skin You are In: Colorism in the Black Community. Both are available on Amazon. It turns out that you can accomplish so much when you begin believing in yourself. Other firsts included moderating my first of three Twitter chats, published two poems on OrganicPoet.com, was featured by Teach Better as both panelist and individual educational specialist. The have coined me as a “Mindset Guru”. Thanks, Dave and the Teach Better Team!! I have been trying to figure out my writing niche. You nailed it and I am forever grateful to each of you.
Over the next couple of months, I began guest blogging for two companies. It is such an honor to have people believe in your ability to provide research-based advice for educators across the globe. I have a monthly blog series on Teach Better, entitled “The Better Mindset” and also write bi-monthly for Insight Advance. I give advice to school leaders via this site. Both were also firsts for me. While contemplating on topics to feature in my guest blogs, I began to create a list of the topics that I wanted to write about in my next book. It was at this time that I decided that I no longer wanted to self-publish. I set out on the path to finding a publisher, created a book proposal and sent it to three companies. To my surprise, in less than 30 days was offered my first publishing contract. Such a blessing!! Thanks, ConnectEDD for believing in the potential of the Educator Reflection Tip series. We are going to do great things together!!!!The third publishing company didn’t offer me a book contract. However, they did provide a platform for me to publish my second book this year. I’m so excited to have been 1 of 26 educators from across the country to contribute a Chapter in EduMatch’s Edusnaps in Education 2020: The Remote Learning Edition. It published today…right before the new year. You can read it here https://books.edumatch.org/edusnap20free or purchase a copy on Amazon. It’s on sale today!! I wrote Chapter 5. Earlier this month, I was able to do something that I have dreamed of for a number of years. I gave my first NATIONAL conference presentation. It wasn’t my best presentation due to COVID really hitting my family hard that week, but I am hoping to be able to assist with more sessions. Thanks National Board Affiliate-NAME for all that you do.
Lastly, I have always wanted to create a professional development course, book, or compilation of specialized PD for schools, so that’s exactly what I did I analyzed my husband’s book and constructed, Colorism: The Unspoken ACE, a companion guide to his book. It it will be available on Amazon tomorrow within the 2nd edition of his book or can be purchased separately our company website under the resource tab, Digital PD 4 You. My husband and I officially turned it into an LLC earlier this month. Let us know if your school is interested in having us provide professional development for your staff. I believe that I lived up to my #2020Word-RISE. What do you think? This year, I learned a lot about myself and wanted to encourage each of you to set a one word goal for 2021 and commit to sticking with it. The truth is there is always enough time for anything that we truly deem as important. I challenge to believe in you and go for it!!!
Reflect on the goals that you have set for yourself…
- What is preventing you from working on your personal growth and goals?
- How will you work to remove these limits in 2021?
- What is the one word that encompasses your goals?
- Post it on Social Media with the hashtag #OneWord2021 to hold yourself accountable for sticking to it.
My word for next year is AMPLIFY!!! Over the next year, I hope that we continue to use our voice to amplify injustices, speak up those who are unable to do it for themselves, assist those in need, speak from our hearts, refuse to be silenced, & finally find comfort coming out of the shadows. What can you do to Amplify in 2021?
Better Mindset Blog (TeachBetter.com): Practices That Promote a Growth Mindset
Digital PD 4 You Podcast: https://apple.co/2YOGEmR
Reflection Tips ( Year in Review): https://digitalpd4you.com/